Here are the highlights of the session:
Points of Agreement
- Teaching full-time at a university is rewarding.
- Being a professor is well worth all the financial and personal struggles, if you land a tenure-track job.
- Despite all that you do to build up a strong cv, there is an element of luck/providence in securing a full-time faculty position.
- You should have a solid backup plan in case you cannot find full-time employment as a professor.
- To be a strong candidate for faculty employment, you should have at least some peer-reviewed journal articles and ideally a book (or book contract).
Points of Disagreement
- Not everyone had a favorable experience at graduate school. While some panelists had a great time reading interesting books and enjoying the culture of the city in which they lived, others felt lonely, overwhelmed, and uninspired by their courses, advisers, and reading list.
- More than half of the panelists felt strongly that you should not go to graduate school if you are married; almost everyone (but me) said that you should not go to graduate school if you have children.
- About half the panelists said that there is value in a graduate school education that does not lead to full-time employment as a professor. The other half argued that it was a waste of time and money to go to graduate school (in the humanities) without the intent of becoming a professor.
- The panelists were split on whether you should go to graduate school if you are not offered free tuition and/or a stipend.